All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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25 06, 2019

New Papo Colour Variant Stegosaurus in Stock

By | June 25th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Papo Colour Variant Stegosaurus in Stock

The new for 2019 Papo Stegosaurus (colour variant) is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  This repainted figure, is an update on the classical Papo Stegosaurus, (product code 55007), which was one of the very first prehistoric animals to be added to the company’s “Les Dinosaures” model range.

The Stunning Papo Stegosaurus (New Colour Variant)

Papo Stegosaurus (new colour variant).

Papo Stegosaurus (new colour variant) 2019.  This is a picture taken by an Everything Dinosaur team member to highlight the spectacular colour scheme on the new for 2019 Papo Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the new for 2019 Papo Stegosaurus and the other models and figures in the Papo range: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

A Makeover for the Papo Stegosaurus

The sculpt is as per the original Papo Stegosaurus figure but the model has been completely re-painted with the characteristic plates on the back and running down to the tail an almost “blood red” colour. This works well with the countershading highlighted on the figure’s body and the overlying dark stripes that provide a reticulation-like effect.  As collectors would expect from a Papo figure, the painting is excellent and the detailing around the open beak and the eye is particularly remarkable.  Eagle-eyed readers will observe tiny round spots of lighter paint in amongst the darker stripes, a nice touch from the design team at Papo.

The “Classic” Papo Stegosaurus and the New for 2019 Version

Two Papo Stegosaurus figures.

The “classic” Papo Stegosaurus (left) and the new for 2019 Papo Stegosaurus (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are not certain about the future of the original Papo Stegosaurus figure.  It, for the moment is included in the latest 2019 collector’s booklet and the main Papo catalogue.  However, we note that earlier this year, Papo introduced a new colour variant Allosaurus model and this new figure has effectively replaced the original Allosaurus.  The first Allosaurus model to be made by Papo has been withdrawn from catalogues and company promotional materials.  If we receive news about the original Papo Stegosaurus we will make sure we post this information up onto our social media sites to help keep everybody informed.”

A Stunning New Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model from Papo

A new Papo Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2019 Papo Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

More Papo Models Coming Soon

The new colour variant Papo Stegosaurus is the third new figure to be introduced this year, it follows the brown running Tyrannosaurus rex and the new version of the Papo Allosaurus that was mentioned earlier.  There are still two figures to come, the eagerly awaited Papo Pentaceratops and the Papo Gorgosaurus, both figures are expected to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur soon.

24 06, 2019

A Dinosaur Model Fan Draws Carnotaurus

By | June 24th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Illustrating Carnotaurus

Yesterday, we featured a drawing of a Smilodon which was inspired by the Papo Smilodon (Sabre-toothed cat) model.  Today, we feature another prehistoric animal illustration inspired by a Papo figure, but from a different artist.  Ian very kindly sent into us a pencil sketch of the Papo Carnotaurus dinosaur model and what a splendid illustration it is!

Illustrating a Carnotaurus

An illustration of Carnotaurus sastrei.

A beautiful illustration of the abelisaurid dinosaur Carnotaurus.

Picture Credit: Ian

A Late Cretaceous Hunter

Carnotaurus (C. sastrei), was a very bizarre and atypical carnivorous dinosaur.  It is known from a single, well-preserved specimen from Upper Cretaceous strata (Argentina).  Measuring around eight metres in length, this meat-eater was relatively lightly built, with a slender jaw, bull-like horns above its eyes and proportionately long legs.  At the time of its scientific description by the Argentinian palaeontologist José Bonaparte, very little was known about the enigmatic Abelisauridae, however, something like twenty abelisaurids have been named and described to date.  Although Carnotaurus was one of the first abelisaurids to be named, it is not a very good representative of the group.  The skull is extremely short and blunt and it has very different proportions when compared to the skulls of other abelisaurids.  It has been suggested that Carnotaurus was a very specialised hunter attacking small, fast-running (cursorial) dinosaurs.

Ian’s illustration has been heavily influenced by the Papo Carnotaurus dinosaur model (see below), can you see the resemblance?

The Papo Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Carnotaurus

With an articulated lower jaw – Papo Carnotaurus.  Helping to inspire talented artists.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our thanks once again to Ian for sending in such a splendid illustration, of what is one of the most peculiar of all the theropod dinosaurs described to date.

22 06, 2019

Spotting an Archaeopteryx

By | June 22nd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Spotting an Archaeopteryx

Whilst on a brief visit to the National Museum of Wales (Cardiff), an Everything Dinosaur team member spotted a model of the famous “first bird” Archaeopteryx.  One of the unusual features of many museums is the lack of lighting in the galleries.  Try as we might, we could not get a good photograph of this Archaeopteryx (A. lithographica) replica.  We have posted up the best image that we could get of this important animal, fossils of which have been subject to scientific scrutiny for over 150 years.

The Archaeopteryx Model Spotted in the National Museum of Wales

Archaeopteryx in a museum exhibit.

An Archaeopteryx (A. lithographica) model on display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Behind the carefully crafted and approximately life-sized model, there is a representation of a typical Archaeopteryx fossil specimen from the Solnhofen limestone.  We suspect that the fossil replica is a representation of the famous “Berlin specimen”, which remains one of the most complete fossil specimens of the “Urvogel” known to science.

20 06, 2019

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

By | June 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

Our thanks to the budding scientists at Great Wood Primary School in Morecambe (Lancashire), who sent into our offices some wonderful dinosaur illustrations and a set of beautifully written letters explaining how much they enjoyed their recent dinosaur workshop with one of our team members.  As part of our extension activity suggestions with the Year 2 classes we challenged them to design their very own prehistoric animal.  We received lots of amazing dinosaur designs.

A Selection of Letters from the Children – Some Featured Illustrations of Imaginary Prehistoric Animals

Letters from Year 2 children.

A selection of letters received from the eager young palaeontologists at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe, Lancashire).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Writing Thank You Letters

The teachers very kindly sent in thank you letters that the children had written.  Writing a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur is a great way for the teaching team to check learning and understanding following a recounting activity.  This letter writing exercise helps young learners practice sentence sequencing, planning their composition, as well as spelling and the layout and format of a letter.  The children can also read their letters out aloud as part of a further teaching activity within the classroom.

A Very Colourful Dinosaur Design with Lots of Wonderful Labels

Year 2 children draw dinosaurs.

A very colourful prehistoric animal produced by a Year 2 child at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Children Produced Letters and Drawings

Dinosaur drawing and letter, Year 2.

Jessica’s dinosaur drawing and letter (Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We try to provide additional teaching resources when we visit a school to deliver a dinosaur themed workshop.  In addition, during our workshop with the class the opportunity often arises to challenge the children to produce a piece of work, such as their very own dinosaur design or to write a thank you letter.  In this way, we are providing extension ideas to the teaching team and supporting the teacher’s scheme of work.”

A Very Spiky Dinosaur Design

Dinosaur illustration from Stacey (Year 2).

Stacy chose to draw a green, armoured dinosaur with a very spiky tail.

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Our thanks once again to the teaching team and the children in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School for taking the time and trouble to send into us examples of their work.  Congratulations to you all!

Dinosaurs with Spiky Tails was a Common Characteristic Amongst the Children’s Dinosaur Designs

Dinosaur illustration (Alice in Year 2)

A colourful dinosaur drawing from Alice in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

19 06, 2019

A Customised CollectA Edaphosaurus

By | June 19th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Customised CollectA Edaphosaurus

More pictures have been sent into Everything Dinosaur showing how a prehistoric animal model can be made into a truly unique piece.  Our thanks once again to model and figure collector Elizabeth who gave us access to some photographs of her recently customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.  Having purchased the figure from Everything Dinosaur, the model was dispatched to professional model maker Martin Garratt for a custom makeover.  We think the results are awesome!

The Customised CollectA Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA Edaphosaurus on a custom-made base.

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

Presented on a Base

As well as carrying out a spectacular paintjob on the figure, Martin has constructed a base complete with representatives of Permian vegetation to help make this herbivorous synapsid feel at home.

Fine Details on the Custom-made Base (CollectA Edaphosaurus)

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus.

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.  A clear view of the fine detailing on the base.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

Presenting a prehistoric animal figure on a base allows the model maker to add an extra dimension to the project and provides fine details and finishing touches.

A View of the Skilfully Painted Tail of the Edaphosaurus Model

The tail of the customised CollectA Edaphosaurus.

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.  A close-up view of the tail.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

Commenting on her figure, collector Elizabeth stated:

“I love the way Martin [Martin Garratt] graded the colour on the tail.”

Painting the Throat of a Pelycosaur

CollectA have stated that they intend to introduce more models of animals that lived during the Palaeozoic into their figure range.  The Edaphosaurus follows on from a beautifully crafted Dimetrodon figure that came out last year.  Thanks to Elizabeth’s photographs we can all appreciate the work that has gone into creating this stunning Edaphosaurus.

A View of the Carefully Painted Throat of the CollectA Edaphosaurus Model

A beautifully painted throat (CollectA Edaphosaurus).

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.  A closer view of that beautifully painted throat that really brings out the detailed scales on the CollectA figure.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

Model collector Elizabeth added:

“I tried to get underneath him to show the lovely work on his throat and the spots on his cheek”.

Your efforts are greatly appreciated, these close-up views highlight the excellent brush work as well as showcasing the wonderful scale texture that CollectA have incorporated into their model.

The CollectA Model Viewed from the Side

Detailing on the sail - CollectA Edaphosaurus.

A customised CollectA Edaphosaurus replica.  Note the washes used to highlight the sail and to provide a wet-look to the model.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

The Off-the-Shelf CollectA Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA Edaphosaurus model.

The CollectA 1:20 scale Edaphosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our thanks once again to Elizabeth for sharing her pictures of the customised Edaphosaurus with us.  To view the CollectA Edaphosaurus and other prehistoric animal figure models in this series: CollectA Prehistoric Life Figures and Replicas.

18 06, 2019

Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus – Further Update

By | June 18th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus – Further Update

At Everything Dinosaur, we try our best to keep model collectors and fans of dinosaur figures up to date with developments in the industry.  One of the most eagerly anticipated dinosaur models in years, the limited edition Papo Spinosaurus, has been subject to further delays and it is not likely to be in stock until October (October 2019).

The Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus – Expected October 2019

Limited edition Papo Spinosaurus (October 2019).

The limited edition Papo Spinosaurus is now expected in October 2019.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In Stock October 2019

At a recent meeting with senior Papo team members, Everything Dinosaur pressed for an update on the new for 2019 prehistoric animal figures due to be added to the company’s “Les Dinosaures” range.  Prior to this most recent meeting, Everything Dinosaur had been informed that this figure was due to be launched in August/September.  We put out a release about this at the beginning of this month (June 2019), however, according to the latest information, the figure’s production and painting has been subject to further delays and this figure is not due to be released until October.

Papo Spinosaurus – An Eagerly Anticipated Dinosaur Model

Papo Spinosaurus (limited edition dinosaur model).

Papo Spinosaurus spotted at a trade show.  Papo Spinosaurus (limited edition dinosaur model).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are working closely with Papo to ensure that production of these figures runs as smoothly as possible, Papo want to produce a truly spectacular dinosaur model and have been working hard to manage the production process.  As soon as we have further information about this eagerly anticipated prehistoric animal replica we will ensure that this information is posted up onto this blog and our various other social media platforms.”

Production Samples

During a very productive meeting with Papo, a number of important issues were discussed.  It is likely that the first production samples will be available late July, these will come straight from the factory and team members at Everything Dinosaur will be able to examine them and to post up further information and pictures.  At least that is the plan, but with a complicated large figure such as this Spinosaurus (it measures more than forty centimetres in length), some further delays could occur.

We are able to confirm that this figure will be provided in a special presentation box and the model will stand nearly seventeen centimetres tall (measuring the height of the sail).

Tale of the Tape – Papo Spinosaurus

The actual Papo Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) measurements are:

length = 40.3 cm, width 10.5 cm and height (height of sail) 16.5 cm.

The new colour variant Papo Stegosaurus model is expected to arrive at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse very shortly, with the Pentaceratops and the Gorgosaurus models to follow later.

To view the range of Papo figures currently in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

17 06, 2019

Dinosaur “Fossil Wall” Discovered in South-western China

By | June 17th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Fossils Discovered

Reports have been circulating from a number of Chinese media outlets concerning the discovery of an extensive fossil bed containing the remains of numerous dinosaurs in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.  The fossil site has been known about for several years but there have been a number of reports this week circulating, hinting at the extent of the fossil discovery and indeed, suggesting that it is very likely that as a result of excavation work, new species of dinosaur will be named and described.

An Extensive Dinosaur Bonebed

Mapping and excavating a fossil site.

Excavating an extensive fossil deposit.

Picture Credit: VCG

The photograph (above), shows a Chinese field team member working on the “wall of dinosaur fossils”.  The site of the fossil find is described as a location close to Laojun village, Pu’an town, in Yunyang county.

New Dinosaur Species

The press reports state that scientists have identified different types of dinosaurs including theropods and basal ornithopods.  The disarticulated remains represent a bone accumulation and the strata is reported to be around 174 million years old (Aalenian faunal stage of the Middle Jurassic).  Commentators have described these fossil beds as very significant and likely to lead to the naming of new dinosaur species.

An Illustration of a Typical Basal Ornithopod

A typical ornithopod.

A typical example of a basal ornithopod.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Four Thousand Individual Fossil Pieces

The mixed fossil assemblage has already provided researchers with around 4,000 pieces of dinosaur bone to study, since the site was first explored and mapped in 2017.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The site has been described as exceeding 150 metres in length with at least 17 distinct assemblages of fossils within it.  Not much is known about the dinosaur biota from the earliest stages of the Middle Jurassic.  Once all the bones have been removed, prepared and studied it is very likely that several new species of dinosaur will be announced.  These dinosaurs will help palaeontologists to map the radiation and dispersal of several key groups of dinosaurs that were to dominate terrestrial ecosystems for the remainder of the Jurassic.”

The Famous Dinosaur Monument (Utah)

The famous Dinosaur Monument (Utah).

The Dinosaur Monument (Utah).

The extensive fossil material could become China’s equivalent of America’s Dinosaur Monument in Utah.  The Dinosaur Monument represents a congregation of dinosaur fossils that accumulated in a river deposit.  Whilst similarities can be drawn between the two sites, the Chongqing Municipality deposits are approximately 25 million years older.

Perhaps, this could be China’s second “Great Wall”.

15 06, 2019

Don’t Get “Sniffy” About Dinosaur Sense of Smell

By | June 15th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Tyrannosaurs Had Their Noses in Front When it Came to Sense of Smell

A team of scientists from University College Dublin have built upon the idea put forward in earlier research indicating that many dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex had an impressive sense of smell.  In a recently published paper, the scientists examined the sense of smell of a wide range of living and extinct archosaurs and concluded that many different dinosaurs had an excellent olfactory sense but the Tyrannosaurs probably had one of the keenest senses of smell amongst the Dinosauria.

New Study Confirms T. rex Had a Powerful Sense of Smell

T. rex dinosaur model

Up close to Tyrannosaurus rex.  It could smell you probably before it could see you.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Olfactory Bulb Ratios

The brains of long extinct animals, like most soft tissues, are poor candidates for fossilisation, the size and the shape of an extinct animal’s brain can be inferred by looking at how the skull bones knit together to form the brain case.  It is from this data that the size and the proportion of the brain dedicated to processing sensory data such as the sense of smell can be deduced.  It has been stated in the past that approximately 50% of the brain volume of a T. rex was made up of the olfactory bulb, that part of the brain that processes smells.  Furthermore, in most modern animals, the size of the brain’s olfactory bulb also correlates with how well they can identify odours.  Looking at the ratio between that part of the brain dedicated to processing smells and the size of the entire brain (the olfactory bulb ratio), can also provide evidence as to the ecological niche an animal is likely to have occupied in an ecosystem.

The King of the Tyrant Lizards Top of the Table for Olfactory Abilities Too

T. rex specimen (cast)

Tyrannosaurs had a highly developed sense of smell.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For example, a bird that hunts in low light levels using scent to find food, is likely to have adapted to its environment very differently from that of a kestrel that hunts in daylight and uses its keen eyesight to spot its prey.

Writing in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”, Dr John Finarelli and his colleague Graham Hughes (University College Dublin), used the olfactory bulb ratio in living archosaurs (crocodiles and birds) to infer the strength of smell amongst dinosaurs.

Prior research has shown that the size of the olfactory bulb is related to the number of smell receptor genes in the DNA of a given animal and how much diversity they represent.  Taken together, it is called the olfactory repertoire. In this new study, the researchers used the olfactory repertoire of modern birds and an alligator to estimate the olfactory ability of several types of dinosaurs.  Based on this innovative research, the scientists concluded that T. rex probably had between 620 and 645 genes encoding its olfactory receptors, a gene count only slightly smaller than those in today’s chickens and domestic cats.  Closely related Tyrannosaurs such as Albertosaurus, also had substantial olfactory receptor gene counts.  Tyrannosaurs probably had the best sense of smell amongst the Dinosauria, this in turn can lead to inferences about how these theropods lived and behaved.

For example, Tyrannosaurs were probably able to “sniff out” prey from far away.  They were  able to track down the carcass of another dinosaur and scavenge the corpse.

A Good Sense of Smell Has Many Other Uses in the Animal Kingdom

The researchers hope that this new study will not get drawn into the “T. rex a hunter or a scavenger debate”, the authors stress that a good sense of smell has many other uses other than finding food.  Many animals use scent to mark and define territory, track down a mate, deter rivals and for intraspecific communication.  The University College Dublin scientists also highlighted a shift in scaling of olfactory bulb ratios to body size along the theropod lineage that led to the evolution of modern birds.  The researchers conclude that by combining morphological and genomic data, it can be demonstrated that, while genetic information for extinct taxa is forever lost, it is potentially feasible to investigate evolutionary trajectories in extinct animals.

Amongst Living Vertebrates, It is the Elephant that Tops the Table for the Most Olfactory Receptor Genes

An African elephant model.

An African elephant (Loxodonta).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Amongst all living vertebrates, the record for the most olfactory receptor genes lies with the modern elephant, a herbivore with about 2,500 such genes.  With such an exquisite sense of smell, elephants can “count” quantities of food by odour alone.  The researchers looked at a number of different types of dinosaur in their study, sure enough, some plant-eating dinosaurs showed evidence of a greater reliance on smell than some carnivorous dinosaurs.  For example, the Late Cretaceous herbivore Erlikosaurus (E. andrewsi), a theropod but a member of the Therizinosauridae had a greater number of projected olfactory receptor genes than Velociraptor and other predatory dromaeosaurids.

The Research Team Assessed Olfactory Bulb Ratio Compared to Body Mass Amongst Living and Extinct Archosaurs

Olfactory bulb ratios amongst examples of the Archosauria.

Olfactory bulb ratios amongst living and extinct archosaurs.  This new study confirmed earlier research indicating that the Tyrannosaurs had a powerful sense of smell.

Picture Credit: University College Dublin

12 06, 2019

CollectA Caiuajara Gets a Custom Makeover

By | June 12th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

CollectA Caiuajara Pterosaur Model Gets Customised

Our thanks to dinosaur and prehistoric animal model collector Elizabeth who sent into Everything Dinosaur some photographs of her recent CollectA pterosaur purchase that she has had customised by a professional model maker and artist.  The pterosaur figure is the recently introduced (spring 2019), CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara model.  This figure has been highly praised by collectors and fans of prehistoric animals, but when placed in the hands of a professional model maker this figure can be customised and elevated to a higher level.

The CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara Pterosaur Model After the Makeover

A customised CollectA Caiuajara model.

The CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara pterosaur figure (custom painted).

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

Custom Painted

At Everything Dinosaur, we tend to get a lot of pictures of models that have been custom painted or altered by their owners in some way.  We marvel at how clever and creative these people are.    The CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara figure is very impressive, but the professional model maker (Martin Garratt),  has created a truly unique piece, one that would not be out of place in a museum collection.  Our congratulations to Martin for his excellent work and our thanks to Elizabeth for sharing images of the commission.

The CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara (Out of the Box)

CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara with moveable jaw.

The Age of Dinosaurs Deluxe Caiuajara pterosaur figure with a moveable jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Colour Vision and Feathers

Recent research has suggested that members of the Pterosauria may have been feathered in a similar way as dinosaurs.  There is growing evidence to indicate that the common ancestor of the dinosaurs and pterosaurs may have evolved a coat of simple feathers to help this active animal keep warm.

To read an article outlining the latest evidence that supports the idea that feathers first evolved in the Early Triassic: Feathers Came First Then Birds Evolved

A Closer View of that Beautifully Detailed Head Crest

Customised Caiuajara.

CollectA Caiuajara has been customised.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

A Pterosaur Starting Point

When it comes to customising a figure or model, it is very important to work with a highly accurate and well-made model in the first place.  If the figure has approximately the right proportions and has an intriguing pose that is anatomically accurate, then this permits the model maker the opportunity to really enhance the figure to create something truly unique.  Standing around twenty-four centimetres high, the CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara is quite sizeable and it has provided the model maker with lots of scope to really bring out the model’s features.  Martin’s choice of colour scheme is very effective and the use of starkly contrasting colours highlights that colour was most important to these flying reptiles and supports the idea that these active animals had colour vision.

The Model Maker has chosen a Vivid Colour Palette and Used a High Gloss Wash to Bring out Details

CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara (customised).

A customised CollectA Caiuajara model.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our thanks to Elizabeth for sharing these photographs with us, this figure will make a marvellous addition to her model collection.”

To view the CollectA Caiuajara figure and the rest of the models in the CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life

8 06, 2019

Feathers Came First Then Birds Evolved

By | June 8th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Feathers Came First Then Birds Evolved

With the discovery of the amazing feathered dinosaur fossils from China, scientists have had to re-think their views about the appearance of dinosaurs, but the story of the evolution of the feather goes more than just skin deep.  In a follow up, to an earlier scientific paper published late last year that examined the evidence for four different types of feather in the Pterosauria, a team of researchers have concluded that the feather arose around 80 million years earlier than the first bird.  Furthermore, the study, led by scientists at the University of Bristol proposes that feathers played a significant role in helping to shape modern terrestrial ecosystems.

Not Just a Flight of Fancy – Feathers Change the Way We Look at Archosaurs

A fossilised feather from the Crato Formation

Numerous isolated feathers have been preserved indicating the presence of Avialae – primitive birds and theropod dinosaurs closely related to birds.  In addition, feather-like structures have been identified in pterosaurs.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

Changing Our Understanding of Feathers, Their Function and Role in Evolution

Writing in the academic journal “Trends in Ecology and Evolution”, the researchers develop the work undertaken last year that looked at evidence for feathers in flying reptile fossils from China and utilises techniques deployed in molecular biology to plot the development of integumentary producing genes within the Archosauria.  If feathers did evolve in the Pterosauria as well as the Dinosauria, then this suggests that their common ancestor may have been feathered to.  Feather-like structures probably arose relatively early in the evolution of the Archosaurs.

Lead author of the paper, Professor Mike Benton (Bristol University), commented:

“The oldest bird is still Archaeopteryx first found in the Late Jurassic of southern Germany in 1861, although some species from China are a little older.  Those fossils all show a diversity of feathers – down feathers over the body and long, vaned feathers on the wings.  But, since 1994, palaeontologists have been contending with the perturbing discovery, based on hundreds of amazing specimens from China, that many dinosaurs also had feathers.”

Archaeopteryx – An Early Bird But Not The First Creature to Have Feathers

An illustration of Archaeopteryx.

The first bird – “Urvogel”, the Archaeopteryx but not the first animal to have feathers.

Picture Credit: Carl Buell

Links Between Fish Teeth, Scales, Feathers and Mammalian Hair

Feathers are modified epidermal appendages that consist mainly of horn-like proteins (β-proteins).  Research has identified links at the genetic level between structures in vertebrates associated with shark teeth, dermal scales in teleost fishes, reptilian scales, feathers and mammalian body hair.  The discovery that genes specific to the production of feathers evolved at the base of the Archosauria clade rather than in association with stem members of the Avialae (birds), is supported by fossil evidence in the form of numerous examples of feathered dinosaurs including examples of feathers in Ornithischian dinosaurs as well as the Theropoda.  Many of the authors of this new paper also worked on the study into feathers in pterosaurs published in December last year.

A Genetic Link Between Dermal Coverings in Tetrapods and Teleost Fish Scales

Looking at the orgins of feathers, a link established between integumentary coverings and fish scales.

Fish scales linked to feathers in genome analysis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If feathers evolved before the evolution of flight, they probably arose first as simple monofilament structures most likely to aid the retention of body heat in the archosaurian ancestors of birds and dinosaurs, perhaps first appearing sometime in the Early Triassic, a time after the Permian mass extinction which had led to a massive terrestrial faunal turnover and the evolution of more active animals with upright, erect gaits.

Co-author of the study, Baoyu Jiang from the University of Nanjing (China), added:

“At first, the dinosaurs with feathers were close to the origin of birds in the evolutionary tree.  This was not so hard to believe.  So, the origin of feathers was pushed back at least to the origin of those bird-like dinosaurs, maybe 200 million years ago.  In fact, we have shown that the same genome regulatory network drives the development of reptile scales, bird feathers, and mammal hairs.  Feathers could have evolved very early.”

Pterosaurs Had Feathers

The breakthrough for the research team occurred when two new types of pterosaur from China were studied.  Their pycnofibres showed branching, they did not have monofilaments but tufts and downy-like feathers, this led to the conclusion that members of the Pterosauria had feathers too.

Baoyu Jiang continued: “The breakthrough came when we were studying two new pterosaurs from China.

Professor Benton postulated that this area of research indicates the origins of feathers some 250 million years ago.

The professor explained:

“The point of origin of pterosaurs, dinosaurs and their relatives.  The Early Triassic world then was recovering from the most devastating mass extinction ever, and life on land had come back from near-total wipe-out.  Palaeontologists had already noted that the new reptiles walked upright instead of sprawling, that their bone structure suggested fast growth and maybe even warm-bloodedness, and the mammal ancestors probably had hair by then.  So, the dinosaurs, pterosaurs and their ancestors had feathers too.  Feathers then probably arose to aid this speeding up of physiology and ecology, purely for insulation.  The other functions of feathers, for display and of course for flight, came much later.”

The Importance of Kulindadromeus

Co-author Dr Maria McNamara (University College Cork, Ireland), explained that the discovery of a feathered dinosaur not thought to be closely related to birds has changed the way some palaeontologists view the evolution of feathers.  In 2014, a formal paper was published on a small, bird-hipped dinosaur that was named Kulindadromeus.  Fossils of this small, Siberian herbivore showed that it had skin covered with scales on the legs and tail, but strange, feathery filaments over much of the rest of its body.

The article announcing the discovery of feathers on an Ornithischian dinosaur: Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

A Scale Model of the Feathered Ornithischian Dinosaur Kulindadromeus (K. zabaikalicus)

A scale model of the feathered dinosaur Kulindadromeus.

A 1:1 scale model of Kulindadromeus (Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus)

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Dr McNamara commented:

“What surprised people was that this was a dinosaur that was as far from birds in the evolutionary tree as could be imagined.  Perhaps feathers were present in the very first dinosaurs.”

Fellow co-author Danielle Dhouailly (University of Grenoble, France), studies the development of feathers in baby birds, especially their genomic control.  Her research has demonstrated that modern birds such as chickens often have scales on their legs or necks, these are in fact evidence of reversal, what had once been feathers had reverted to their more ancient form, that of reptilian scales.

This research supports the idea that gene regulatory networks show that the development of scales, feathers and hairs are co-ordinated by a similar set of genes.  Feathers and body hair probably evolved in the Early Triassic with the ancestors of mammals and birds, at a time when synapsids (the lineage of tetrapods that led to mammals) and archosaurs (dinosaurs and birds), show independent evidence of higher metabolic rates.  It was the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian that re-set the evolutionary clock and permitted the evolution of more active land animals, setting terrestrial lifeforms on a course that would ultimately lead to the rise of the dinosaur, volant flight in the Dinosauria and of course the evolution of modern mammals including ourselves.

The scientific paper: “The Early Origin of Feathers” by M. J. Benton, D. Dhouailly, B. Jiang and M. McNamara published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

To read our earlier article (December 2018) that examined the evidence for four different kinds of feather-like structures associated with pterosaur fossils: Are the Feathers About to Fly in the Pterosauria?

To read an article from 2015 setting out a counter argument concluding that the majority of the Dinosauria probably did not have feathers: Most Dinosaurs Were Probably Scaly.

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